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    An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

    By Barry Blanchard

    Patagonia is proud to announce our latest publication: Barry Blanchard’s memoir, The Calling.

    With heart-pounding descriptions of avalanches and treacherous ascents, Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world. This is the story of the culture of climbing in the days of punk rock, spurred on by the rhythm of adrenaline and the arrogance of youth. It is also a portrait of the power of the mountains to lift us—physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually—and the depths of relationships based on total trust in the person at the other end of a rope. Includes climbs with renowned alpinists such as Kevin Doyle, Mark Twight, David Cheesmond and Ward Robinson.

    BK710_000_2

    Chapter 1

    I SAW THE AVALANCHE COMING. It charged over the step of dirty brown ice above like a breaking wave of black water. It hammered back down into the gulley, driving into us like the fist of god, and I screamed.

    The avalanche slapped my crampons out from under me, and I was folded in half. I was going to die. The animal in me fought to force my hand into the torrent, to grab something solid. My crampons raked over the ice as I stumbled, thrusting my knees into the pressure of the onslaught, trying to get my feet under me. I shouted and I thrashed and the surging snow pushed my arms down at the same time that it swept my feet out to flap like rope-anchored logs in a strong current. My anchor leash was as tight as cable; it hummed with a high-frequency vibration that was transmitted into my bowels along the waist-belt of my harness. My senses where overcome; I didn’t know which way was up. I was terrified.

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    The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 3

    By Christian Beamish

    Cb_7

    “Check out that fin,” my buddy, Dillon Joyce, said.

    And there it was, 50 feet off the stern, an unmistakable dorsal, weaving in a slow “S” through the water. Wasn’t the sharp triangle-shape of a whitey, and as we were five- or six-miles out from Santa Cruz Island on our long sail back to the mainland, my best guess is that we were seeing a rather large blue shark. Nothing fearful about a blue shark, even if we sat a mere foot off the water aboard Cormorant. And compared to the wild ride of the day before, we were content to enjoy the light winds and the sight of thriving sea life in the Santa Barbara Channel.

    Editor’s note: If you’re just joining us, catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

    I’d ordered a new pintle, cast in bronze by Classic Marine in the UK, fixed the rudder and returned to Santa Rosa to retrieve Cormorant. It happened that Dillon, a young surfer from San Clemente with whom I’ve sailed the islands once before, was planning a hiking trip out there and we agreed to travel together. Solitude has its place, but the safety and company of a good friend is priceless. The ranger had offered to give us a ride out to the backside of the island, as hiking with all the gear for the return sail would be impractical, and he met us at the dock.

    Above: A very simple arrangement: The haliyard runs through a hole in the top of the mast and ties off on a cleat—no stays, no fuss. Photo: Dillon Joyce

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    The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 2

    By Christian Beamish

    Cb_1 

    When the pintle snapped I felt a moment’s disbelief and then something like panic spark down in my belly. But I tamped that feeling with a long drink of water and a pep talk, noting to myself that I was not injured, that I had plenty of food and water, and that the conditions were calm. Johnson’s Lee, a good anchorage on the southwest corner of the island, was about five miles down and I draped a sarong over the top of my ball cap and tucked it in to my long-sleeve shirt for sun protection, then leaned into steady pulls on the oars with the thought that I might meet someone at the anchorage who could help me.

    Editor’s note: In case you missed it, catch up with Part 1. Photos: Christian Beamish

    Coming in close along shore I had a good view of desolate beaches and the scrub canyons that led upwards, the water below was aquarium clear and revealing sand one moment, rock reef and kelp the next. At a corner of rock shelves and low dunes, two big elephant seals pushed against each other chest-to-chest without much enthusiasm for the fight, their percussive groans having no effect on the females in deep slumber further up the sand. I kept on, steadily rowing, not wanting to squander the momentum I had gathered. But I stopped occasionally for water and to shake the numbness from my hands. When a light breeze started up a couple of hours later I raised sail and steered with an oar, Polynesian style.

    Continue reading "The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 2" »

    Dan Malloy’s Slow Is Fast – The Book and DVD

    By Craig Holloway

    Zimmerman_1

    Thumbing through my recently purchased copy of Dan Malloy’s Slow Is Fast paperback, I felt the same elation I had as a teenager buying new vinyl. Listening to Yes’s double album, Tales From Topographic Oceans, I would carefully examine Roger Dean’s ethereal cover art as Jon Anderson and Steve Howe’s highly energized rock transported this Jersey kid to another place. And that’s what creative types do. They grab a hold of you and take you with them. It’s what Dan Malloy does with Slow Is Fast. He creates a beautifully made visual tribute to his native California.

    Back in the fall of 2012, Dan and his good friends, Kellen Keene and Kanoa Zimmerman rode touring bikes along 700 coastal miles, documenting their trip with plenty of photographs and interviews. Some pictures are humorous, like the road kill one, where a beanie doll is added to the mix to soften death’s morbidity. Details are everywhere. The book’s front cover has a tiny, red bike-trailer icon and there are pages torn from a calendar scribbled with notes that say four shakas, zero middle fingers and two angry honks – a record of the day’s interaction with motorists.

    [“In the last month I have learned more about the people and places along the California coast than I had in 34 years and a thousand car trips.” -Dan Malloy. Photo: Kanoa Zimmerman]

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    Slow is Fast – 2013 Book Tour Dates [Updated with Event Photos and Ordering Info]

    By Dan Malloy


    We are so stinking stoked to announce that our book Slow is Fast is finished! Starting on August 2nd, Kanoa, Kellen and myself will tour our new book (and the moving pictures DVD that comes with it) from Mill Valley to San Diego. Please join us if you have time. There will be good music (The John Stewards up north and Todd Hannigan down south), we will screen the movie, talk about the trip, answer your questions and drink free beer. The book will also be for sale. We haven’t figured out a price yet so just bring your whole piggy bank.

    A huge thank you to all of the Patagonia folks in japan who made our recent tour over there so much fun, especially Lisa Iida!

    [Above: Slow is Fast book trailer. Video by Woodshed Films. Hit the jump for some DVD outtakes, production photos and the book tour details. All photos courtesy of Dan Malloy. Update 7/29: added new book tour dates and photos from each event at the bottom of this post. Update: 10/21: the book and DVD are now available to order. Details at the bottom of this post.

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    Backseat of the Ford – An Excerpt from “Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods”

    By Christine Byl

    Chevy Vs.Ford_2006_2

    Back in 2007, author Christine Byl sent a juicy little story entitled “Innard Mongolia” to our fledgling blog. Today, we welcome Christine back to The Cleanest Line with congratulations on the publishing of her first book,
    Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Beacon Press.

    The first half of
    Dirt Work is set in Montana's Glacier National Park. This excerpt, from the second chapter, finds the novice traildog out with a new crew in the Middle Fork district on Glacier's west side.

    One of my first days in the Middle Fork resembles my firsts nearly everywhere in Glacier: out of my element, eager to get in, following along quietly until the former state gives way to the latter. This particular day found my own crew leader sick and me shipped off for the day with Brook and his Middle Fork guys to get a jump-start on the heavy clearing in the Coal Creek burn. I knew Brook by reputation only. Thirty-something, wiry, hyper, and flat-out hilarious, Brook was at the center of some of the most outlandish pranks and stories in the trails canon. He was drawn to drama, calamity, and excess. Brook loved attention. If he was on a search and rescue, he’d end up on the local news, and you could see why. He told a monologue worthy of a one-man show, complete with pantomime and imitations. He teased until the butt of the joke was ready to throttle him, stopped just before he was resented. His crews worked hard, hiked hard, drank hard, laughed hard. I was eager to see him in action.

    [Above: Fording Riley Creek. Photo: Gabe Travis]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Patagonia Vertical, the book

    By Kelly Cordes

    Patagonia_Vertical_256

    Guidebooks come in all forms. The kind that I like the most are more than mere guidebooks; they have bits of history, interesting information and stunning photos. They inspire me. By necessity, they can only be written by a true expert. They don’t hold my hand, but they have the essential info, the things you need to know, while giving you the credit of assuming that – in the case of alpine climbing, anyway – you already possess a basic level of competence. Which, seems to me, is fair enough for an alpine climbing destination like the Chaltén Massif in southern Patagonia, Argentina.

    The massif is home to so many stories, so many legends, so much vision from such great climbers from around the globe; some from previous eras, some still active, some just getting started.

    One of Patagonia’s greats is Rolando Garibotti, who grew up in Bariloche, Argentina. He first visited the Chaltén Massif in the mid-80s – back then, El Chaltén had a single house. Garibotti was 15 years old, and he and a friend climbed Aguja Guillaumet. His passion had been ignited, and it’s been burning ever since.

    [Above: One of the last pitches of Cerro Fitz Roy’s Supercanaleta. The summit can be seen in the upper left. Photo: Rolando Garibotti]

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    Taking the Oars

    By Bridget Crocker

    Bridget_Crocker_Zambezi_River

    Sometimes a woman has to paddle against the current.

    When I’d first met Doreen, last season, she was a highsider – a porter and training guide who helped weight the rafts through the Zambezi’s high-volume hydraulics. She was barely five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds, but as a highsider, Doreen carried heavy coolers, oars, and rafts in and out of the steep Batoka gorge, matching the men load for load. The other highsiders, all male, started complaining that she was taking more than her share, making it harder for them to provide for their families. Doreen didn’t have a family of her own, they argued, so she didn’t need the money like they did.
     
    It was decided that Doreen must quit being a highsider and become the manager’s “house girl” – and so she came to work for us, doing the washing, ironing, and floor polishing.

    [Above: Bridget Crocker and crew take on Rapid #8 (aka Midnight Diner). Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo: Greg Findley/Detour Destinations]

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    Excerpt from "The Plight of the Torpedo People" a New Bodysurfing Book from Keith Malloy

    By John R.K. Clark

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    I always notice the sea birds when I’m out in the lineup, waiting for waves. On the south shore of Oahu, where I bodysurf most, I see manu o ku, or white terns, doing their aerial acrobatics. I see iwa, or great frigates, hovering almost motionless high above. But the birds that I really like to see are the kaupu — the brown boobies who fly fearlessly through crowds of surfers. Kaupu love to ride waves, and they get everyone’s attention as they skim through the lineup, wings spread wide, surfing the air currents along the face of a breaking wave. Native Hawaiians called their flight kaha, or gliding, and this is the word they used for bodysurfing: kaha nalu, wave gliding. To me this is the essence of bodysurfing: gliding across the face of a wave. Bodysurfers are wave gliders whether they’re making a death-defying drop at the Wedge, powering through a perfect barrel at Pipeline, or just cruising with their kids in the shorebreak at Makapuu.

    [Above: Keith Malloy in Tahiti, from page 52. Photo: Chris Burkard]

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    Thinking Like a Mountain Climber

    by Charissa Rujanavech

    Yvon&vincent

    Yvon Chouinard first came onto my radar in 1999.

    I was a young lass from the Midwest, transplanted for the summer in southern Utah and awestruck by the dramatic landscapes of the West. Having never traveled beyond the forests of Missouri, I was eager to explore these wild mountains, deserts, and rivers. I soon discovered what would become my greatest passion: rock climbing.

    My early climbing mentors taught me lessons in balance and delicate footwork during the day, and recounted stories of the Yosemite Golden Age rock legends over the campfire at night. The names of Salathé, Frost, Robbins, Pratt, and Chouinard were brought to life, through tales of near-mythical ascents up immense granite walls I couldn’t even begin to imagine tackling.

    [Yvon Chouinard holds forth at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Photo: Anthony Clark.]

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